Back in August, Boston Red Sox owner John Henry stated in an email to the Boston Herald that he was “haunted” by the racist past of former owner and Hall of Famer, Tom Yawkey. Six months later, the team petitioned to rename the street to Jersey Street in an attempt to promote diversity and inclusion in the organization.
“Restoring the Jersey Street name is intended to reinforce that Fenway Park is inclusive and welcoming to all,” the team said Wednesday in a statement.
Under Yawkey, the Red Sox were the last team in the MLB to integrate their roster, 12 years after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. Even after the integration, racial issues lingered in the organization during Yawkey’s ownership.
In order for the name change to officially happen, the Red Sox must have approval from the other businesses abutting the street. According to the organization, all abutters agreed to the change.
The Yawkey Foundation, despite Tom Yawkey’s racist past, has been positively involved with the Red Sox and the Boston Community. The Red Sox claim that the name change does not negate the charitable efforts of the organization.
“It is important to separate the unfortunate and undeniable history of the Red Sox with regards to race and integration from the incredible charitable work the Yawkey Foundation has accomplished in this millennium and over the last 16 years,” the Red Sox said in its statement.
“The positive impact they have had, and continue to have, in hospitals, on education programs, and with underserved communities throughout Boston and New England, is admirable and enduring. We have the utmost respect for their mission, leadership, and the institutions they support.”
An official change will likely be met with mixed opinions from Red Sox Nation. While some fans value the tradition that Yawkey Way stood for, others applaud the organization for its willingness to change.
Craig Kimbrel puts a hold on Spring Training
Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel left Fort Myers this week to be with his family while his 4-month-old daughter undergoes heart surgery.
“I love baseball, but I also love my family,” Kimbrel said Tuesday. “I’m here to work. I’m here to focus and try to get better. When I leave the ballpark, my heart and my mind are definitely at home.”
Kimbrel’s daughter was born with a heart ailment that required she undergo her first procedure at just days old. Her upcoming surgery will take place at Boston Children’s Hospital.
“The doctors have been amazing, very encouraging,” Kimbrel said. “There’s a plan for everything. You want to be there and do everything you can, but you have to step back and trust the doctors and we’re doing what we can.”